Rush GoreWe did learn at least one thing from the debate...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 01, 1993

Rush Gore

We did learn at least one thing from the debate on the North American Free Trade Agreement. We know that Vice President Gore has turned into Rush Limbaugh. Only a few months ago the very mention of that name sent those in and around the White House into spasms. Remember the urge to get him off the air?

Luckily, when they realized that this bit was "not going to play well in Peoria," they pulled back. Had they gone on with it, they'd have closed the curtain on themselves before the first act was half over. Now -- ironically -- we have the V.P. stealing lines out of the Rush Limbaugh book.

We all heard Rush Limbaugh's words ringing, as Al Gore was putting down Ross Perot's rejection of NAFTA; his "campaign of fear and negativism." (Rush Limbaugh's exact description of the Clinton/Gore political campaign, those many weeks of 1992.)

Sensing the right time to score a point -- by praising the American workers -- Mr. Gore chose to repeat, verbatim, Rush Limbaugh's appraisal of them. (We're not stupid, Mr. Vice President!)

For now, I suppose we should be happy that Washington is waking up: Rush Limbaugh is the voice of mainstream America.

Wouldn't it be great if those in high places would catch some of R.L.'s integrity and sincerity while they're "practicing" his lines?

Mary Jo Fongheiser

Baltimore

Ancient Egypt

The "proof" that M. Olatunji Mwamba offers to maintain the notion that most ancient Egyptians were black betrays a poor understanding of ancient sources on his part.

He is contradicted by many ancient writers, who consistently depicted Egyptians as being lighter and distinct from black Africans.

With regard to Herodotus' description of Egyptians, it is vital to understand the difference between the Greek terms Herodotus and other ancient writers used to distinguish Egyptians from black Africans, a difference not apparent in the inadequate translation Mr. Mwamba uses.

Greeks described black peoples as melanes (black), but Greek writers, including Herodotus, used the term melanchroos (dark, brown) for Egyptians and the peoples of northern India. The ancient writer Manilius even placed the various races on a color scale, with Egyptians described as light brown.

In the original Greek, Herodotus uses the term oulos to describe the hair of the Egyptians, a term never used for black Africans; the term was instead used to describe the hair of some Greeks. Were Mr. Mwamba to insist that Egyptians were black he would also have to maintain that ancient Greeks were black as well.

Finally, Mr. Mwamba wrongly attributes the name "Egypt" to Greek origins; Egyptos is the way Greeks pronounced the Egyptian word Hakuptah, another name for Memphis, Egypt's capital.

The practice of referring to both country and the capital by the same name is continued by Egyptians in their use of the name Misr.

As for the name Kemit, it could only refer to the rich black soil of the flood plain of the Nile River. Egyptians would hardly have distinguished their country from the lands of their black African neighbors to the South by calling it "the land of the blacks."

Stavros Vlahoyiannis

Baltimore

Contradictions

Now let me get this straight. The president can bribe 30 or 40 congressmen, but political consultant Edward Rollins can't say, "If you can't turn 'em out for me, don't turn 'em out!''

Ray King

Essex

Gifted and Talented

I read with interest the article "Smartest children get shortchanged" (Nov. 5) and the letter by Eileen Eisenstadt (Nov. 20).

I agree with Ms. Eisenstadt that often in heterogeneous classes teachers attend to the needs of average and below average students, leaving those with academic talents to their own devices.

Moreover, bright students too often are expected to spend inordinate amounts of time peer tutoring while deriving few educational benefits from that experience.

However, in the midst of much controversy surrounding tracking, ability grouping and gifted and talented students, I point with pride to the efforts of the Baltimore City public schools to identify and educate its academically talented students.

Through the present gifted and talented program in grades three through five in 47 elementary schools, the advanced academic program in nine middle schools, and honors and A courses in selected high schools, Baltimore has recognized bright students. Acceleration, curriculum compacting and independent study are viable options for some of our students.

Later this year, as the Baltimore City public schools embrace efficacy and the conviction that all students can learn and all students have gifts and talents, our efforts will increase to identify other gifts.

We seek to move beyond academics to music, art and the psychomotor domains as we help each young person reach his or her potential.

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